Earlier this week, a 22-year old man and a juvenile female were arrested by police in relation to an overnight crime spree that started in Flagler County and ended in Hardeeville, South Carolina. According to a report by the Fox News affiliate in Jacksonville, police are claiming that the couple called for Chinese delivery and beat the delivery driver upon his arrival. Allegedly, the couple pretended to be law enforcement officers and, after beating the man, handcuffed him and put him into the back of his own car.
According to police, the couple then pushed the delivery driver from his own car before committing an armed robbery in St. Johns County. Police spotted the couple in Georgia, and the couple led them on a high-speed chase. Ultimately the couple got away until they were again spotted, and this time stopped, in Hardeeville, South Carolina. Although charges have not yet been filed, the adult male faces charges of: kidnapping, aggravated battery, robbery and grand theft.
Juveniles Can Be Tried as Adults in Florida
While juveniles are generally tried in the juvenile justice system, Florida lawmakers have carved out certain exceptions to that general rule. In these cases, juveniles are tried just as adults are in regular court, with the same exposure to the lengthy sentences.
There are two ways for a juvenile to be charged as an adult in Florida. First, if in the prosecutor’s discretion the juvenile should be tried as an adult, the prosecutor can file the case in criminal court, rather than in juvenile court. This is only available to prosecutors if the juvenile is 16 or 17 years old.
Second, if the juvenile is 14 or older and is charged with one of several certain enumerated crimes the juvenile can automatically tried in adult court. These crimes are generally the more serious crimes, such as:
• Sexual battery;
• Certain robbery offenses;
• Aggravated child abuse;
• Aggravated assault;
• Aggravated stalking;
• Certain carjacking offenses; and
Even in these cases, the court must determine that the “public interest” requires that the juvenile be tried, and punished, as an adult. A good criminal defense attorney will challenge the State’s assertion that the juvenile should be tried in adult court.
Have You or Your Child Been Charged with a Serious Criminal Offense?
If you or your child has been recently charged with a serious criminal offense, you need to do all that you can to ensure that the case stays in the juvenile justice system rather than the criminal justice system. While neither system is pleasant, the juvenile justice system is required to focus on rehabilitation, rather than punishment. This means that, even if a juvenile is found to have committed the crime, the sentence is less severe and will be rehabilitative in nature.
The first thing to do is to speak to an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorney. The longer your attorney has to prepare your case, the better the chance he will have to keep the case in the juvenile justice system. At the Forbess Law Firm, we have the experience and dedication to provide you with the quality defense you are entitled to, whether the case ends up in juvenile or adult court. Click here to contact the Forbess Law Firm online, or call 904-634-0900 today to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
See More Blog Posts:
Sunrise Police Officer Resigns After Being Charged With Marijuana Distribution, Jacksonville Criminal Attorney Blog, October 7, 2013.
Convicted Murderer Possibly Suffers From New Lethal Injection Concoction, Jacksonville Criminal Attorney Blog, October 24, 2013.